Author: Scott Smith
Why it made the list (Why you should do them):
There just isn’t a better lift to develop sexy, toned shoulders/arms than pushing heavy weights over your head. The amount of shoulder stabilization required to perform this lift is extreme, which I suppose could be seen as a con (higher risk of injury), but with proper technique and progression I consider a pro. Also, this lift allows for significant loads to be pressed overhead due to the synergy of both the triceps and anterior deltoid. Remember, the heavier the load – the higher the intensity. The higher the intensity – the greater your body’s need to adapt. And forcing adaptation is what weight training is all about folks.
How to do them properly:
– This exercise can be done seated, standing, or even on one leg. The accompanying video demonstrates the seated variation. What is important is that your torso remain rigid (no leaning back or allowing your back to arch excessively). For your first repetition it is okay to use your legs to help thrust the dumbbells up over head into the starting position so as not to “strict press” the weight from below the shoulder.
– Start with your arms extended and hands shoulder width apart. Your knuckles should be facing the ceiling as if you were trying to punch the sky with your palms and eyes forward.
– Slowly lower the dumbbells, keeping your palms forward (overhand grip) until you feel a slight stretch in your anterior (front) shoulder. You should feel your upper back flexing in order to stabilize your shoulder blades and keep your upper arms pointed toward the side walls.
– Without leaning back, press the dumbbells back up over head through the same path they came down in. Breath out through the “sticking point” and fully extend your arm while keeping tension in both the triceps and shoulder.
– With the primary goal of toning, the goal would be to use moderate to heavy loads at a slower tempo, finishing with the dumbbells over the forehead where there is a lot of tension in the front of the shoulder for the entire set. When pressing a barbell over head for a strength/power performance goal, the technique is much different and performed at a faster speed with a finishing position behind the head.
I’ve picked these 10 lifts because of their proven efficiency and effectiveness at forcing the body to adapt and change for the better! Some of the variations may be a bit more advanced than you are currently ready to perform, but if you continue to follow this site, I can promise you that regressions will be made available for your learning. But that does not mean you shouldn’t aspire to be able to do these 10 exercises at some point!
If you are/have been a client of mine you no doubtably know some variation of these movements because they are a true staple of my programs. I hope they serve you as well as they have served me!
Scott Smith, CSCS
Just a recap so far… Click on the exercise to watch the video!